June 12, 2010

Relay participants remember cancer victims
-- and do something to fight the disease

Applause for cancer survivors taking the first lap around the Relay track

As track meets go, the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, now under way at Case High School's Hammes Field, is unique.

Men and women participate; young and old; healthy and ailing; some with a full head of hair, others with a bald pate signifying chemo and radiation treatment. They started walking around the track shortly after 6 p.m. Friday night, and won't finish until about 10 a.m. Saturday morning. Some walk; some are in wheelchairs; some shuffle along in walkers.

Before the Relay started, there were 93 teams registered; 957 individuals. Between them, they had already raised $68,010.88 for the fight against cancer. (Update: They raised $205,000.) Every team promises to have at least one member on the track throughout the night, "because cancer never sleeps."

First around the track Friday night were cancer survivors, many of them wearing purple t-shirts proclaiming their own personal victories: "Had it. Fought it. Survived it." The survivors' lap was followed by a second group, the care-givers, followed by everyone else, all present to fight back against the disease. They marched to bouncy rock 'n roll; the more energetic taking time out for an hour of Zumba.

The track was lined with luminaries celebrating the lives of people who have battled cancer, and remembering loved ones lost. At dusk, candles were lit within each hand-decorated bag bearing the name of a person touched by cancer; participants then walked a lap in silence.

Luminaries celebrated the victories ... and remembered those who lost
Zumba drew scores with boundless energy to spare

Here are three photos taken by Dan White, after the luminaries were lit at 9 p.m.